The most profound thing about the response to the murder of Rashid Rehman has been how muted it has been. The UN has condemned the brutal act, but the government has ignored international outcry demanding an investigation. The fact is, such an investigation does not serve the purposes of the national or Punjab governments. Rashid Rehman was killed for defending those accused of blasphemy, and that is not a particularly powerful political group. Religious extremists, however, are, and the Sharifs know it. This willingness to play realpolitik with those who believe they are justified to kill those who disagree with them has been the Nawaz Sharif’s undoing in the past, but it threatens to undo much more than just the current government.
The Sharifs willingness to play along with evil in order to advance their own agendas is well documented. Nawaz Sharif has bragged about his ‘old friendship‘ with Osama bin Laden, the terrorist who allegedly helped fund the PMLN after the death of Ziaul Haq. PMLN also faces serious allegations in the Asghar Khan case of helping ISI to rig elections in 1990. In the most recent elections, PMLN has also allegedly made a seat adjustment with sectarian terrorist group ASWJ. Nawaz Sharif denies most of the allegations, but it is a fact that extremist groups have a growing political power in Punjab, and it would be foolish to believe that the Sharifs were so blind as to not see it.
What is equally as foolish, however, has been the PMLN’s response to this growing political power. Whether or not the allegations are true and the PMLN has cut deals with these groups, at a minimum, by all appearances the ruling party is not interested in doing anything to curb their growing influence. Whether it is the inability to convict known terrorist leaders or giving tickets to those who encourage terrorism, the PMLN has a disturbing track record of turning a blind eye to the cancer that is destroying our country.
After accusing the ISI of involvement, Hamid Mir has even been given an judicial commission to investigate who was behind the attempt on his life. Rashid Rehman, by all account, was killed for his role in defending the rights of those facing serious accusations of blasphemy. Once again, Nawaz Sharif is looking the other way.